07 December 2008

Not Without/Without My Daughter: More than Culture Shock

By Harsha Man Maharjan

In Ellul’s book Propaganda, he thinks that more we consume media; more we become vulnerable to propaganda. Have I also become a victim of propaganda? Only readers can tell.

Today I am writing my feelings on Brian Gilbert’s film Not Without My Daughter. As its regular film show and discussion series Martin Chautari screened it on 4 December 2008. It is based on a true story about the struggle an American woman did to escape from Iran to America with her daughter leaving her brutal and abusive Iranian husband. This is film is only an American perspective.

Wanting to now more about the film, I googled. Then I came to know about its controversy and, reaction from Iranian people and the husband himself. According to IranMania.com, documentary Without My Daughter directed by Alexis Kouros and Kari Tervo, contains the husband, Bozorg Mahmoody’s views. This documentary is not available in Nepali market.
To IranMania.com, Alexis Kouros had said: the documentary "is about the relationship between a human being and the system or politics, in which the system or politics is the final winner. It shows how politics affect individual lives". Even Bozorg Mahmoody thinks himself “a victim of international politics and propaganda amid the animosity between Washington and Tehran”.

Not Without My Daughter has a simple story. An American woman Betty Mahmoody goes to Iran with her Iranian husband and their daughter for few days. He has assured her that they would return the USA. But he changes his mind and decides to stay in Iran forever. She shows dissatisfaction and the husband becomes more abusive and brutal. He lets his wife to visit the US not his daughter. So at last she succeeds to escape with their daughter from the husband.

We can see this film from few perspectives. If we analyze the film in feministic perspective, Betty Mahmoody has rights not to accept Islamic dress code and religion. But it sounds as if we are giving emphasis to individual rights. If we look through cultural perspective, both husband and wife are from different cultures: Iranian(communitarian) and American (Individualistic). And there socialization is different too.

From nationalistic perspective, Bozorg Mahmoody wants to serve his country and its people. He feels guilty for remaining in the US as a doctor when he is supposed to participate in Iranian revolution. And nation is more important than an individual.

There is a psychological reason too. In the US he feels inferiority complex. He knows that the American state and some Americans hate Iranians. He loses his job as a doctor. His only fault is he is an Iranian. So when he returns Iran he gains power and his wife feels powerless. He not only hopes that his wife will convert to a Muslim, he also becomes brutal. He flogs her publicly for not obeying his commands.

More about the film/documentary:

More about the controvery:

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1 comment:

Surath Giri said...

How I miss those days in Martin Chautari! Due to office , I can't come to Film @ Chautari but i haven't stopped watching films though! Hope the show is going on harsha dai!